The Great Debate: Soy vs. Paraffin

The Great Debate: Soy vs. Paraffin

In today’s world we have access to overwhelming amounts of information.  When we have questions about anything we can turn to Siri, Alexa, Google and others for all the answers.  But as I tell my kids, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.  Sometimes the answers are simple and come from a solid, reliable source while other times you wind up with more questions than answers.  Such is the case with the great debate of paraffin candles vs. soy candles.  

If you were to search “soy vs. paraffin,” you would come up with a seemingly endless list of results.  The challenge is that the vast majority of the results are from candle companies or suppliers and the information they share will usually attempt to sway you one way or the other.  The other large pool of results come from various bloggers across the web and the messaging can range from “all candles are safe” to “scented candles are toxic” and, all too often, “paraffin = death.”  Obviously not all of these statements can be true. 

This led me on a search for a peer-reviewed study of candle toxicity and I could only find one (this was in 2015, there may be more today).  To spare you the boring details, the conclusion is that if a candle is made and burned properly it is not harmful to our health, regardless of the wax.  However, some fragrances can trigger headaches or cause irritation for those with asthma, which is why I carefully select premium fragrance oils without all the nasty chemicals, but I'll go deeper into this topic on another day. If you’re not sure how to properly burn your candles check out my candle care & safety tips.

I have experimented with paraffin-blend waxes over the course of my candle making journey and I’m just not a fan.  It is messy, I don’t care for the way the scent comes off and the candles burn faster too.  But the main thing that turned me off from paraffin wax is that it is a non-renewable resource.  Soy wax on the other hand is renewable, which was my number one criteria when selecting a wax for my candles, plus it supports American soy farmers.

As a candlemaker and small business owner, I’ll never make scary claims about paraffin as a selling point for my 100% soy wax candles.  I firmly believe we all have to do our own responsible research in order to arrive at decisions that are best for us.  If you haven’t tried a Westward candle yet, I hope you’ll consider one for your next candle purchase.  My personal favorite is Old Town Hippie Store.     


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